The present paper provides the background of a focused effort to assess uncertainties in predictions of heat flux and pressure in hypersonic flight (airbreathing or atmospheric entry) using state-of-the-art aerothermodynamics codes. The assessment is performed for four mission relevant problems: (1) shock turbulent boundary layer interaction on a compression corner, (2) shock turbulent boundary layer interaction due a impinging shock, (3) high-mass Mars entry and aerocapture, and (4) high speed return to Earth. A validation based uncertainty assessment approach with reliance on subject matter expertise is used. A code verification exercise with code-to-code comparisons and comparisons against well established correlations is also included in this effort. A thorough review of the literature in search of validation experiments is performed, which identified a scarcity of ground based validation experiments at hypersonic conditions. In particular, a shortage of useable experimental data at flight like enthalpies and Reynolds numbers is found. The uncertainty was quantified using metrics that measured discrepancy between model predictions and experimental data. The discrepancy data is statistically analyzed and investigated for physics based trends in order to define a meaningful quantified uncertainty. The detailed uncertainty assessment of each mission relevant problem is found in the four companion papers.